Tech companies and advocacy groups quickly applauded negotiators for finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on Monday.
“This is a significant step toward advancing global innovation and opening doors around the world for American businesses,” said Intel spokeswoman Lisa Malloy in a statement. “TPP has the potential to support America’s high-tech industry through critical intellectual property protections, limits on using encryption standards as a barrier to trade and localization policy rules of the road.”
Earlier this year, Congress voted to give Obama fast-track powers to finalize negotiations in a contentious vote that saw many Democrats object to the president's trade agenda.
While the text of the agreement has yet to be made public, tech groups praised provisions that would govern the way data can be sent from country to country. U.S. firms have said they would like to do business with more protections on their ability to store data in one country and access it in another.
“The digital economy is global, and information must be able to flow freely across borders for that economy to flourish,” said Stephen Ezell, vice president for global innovation policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank, in a statement.
“By committing parties to protecting free cross-border data flows and prohibiting countries from requiring that their citizens’ data be stored on local servers, the TPP agreement ensures information technology will remain the principal driver of modern economic growth.”
The Information Technology Industry Council said in a statement that for “the tech sector, the true test of the deal will be whether it is an agreement that will support jobs, drive sustainable growth, foster inclusive development, and promote 21st century innovation.”
Some smaller tech companies have opposed the deal in the past.
The deal now heads to Congress for review early next year, where it is likely to face bipartisan scrutiny.
The Obama administration will need to calm the concerns of Democrats who fear the trade deal hurts American workers and Republicans who want to protect certain industries.